On July 29, 2013, Mary Jo Foley posted an article to ZD Net: Did Walmart just sell out of Microsoft Surface RTs?. We just confirmed this news ourselves with a visit to the Walmart web site.
This is good news for Microsoft®. It may signal a bottom for their efforts to enter the consumer market for mobile devices (at least tablet computers) and a turn towards positive results, especially if other prominent brick and mortar retailers like Best Buy®.
We also liked what we saw of the enterprise business preview of Windows 8.1 released on July 30, 2013.
Perhaps no company is in a better position to speak to the needs of enterprise IT organizations than Microsoft. The preview presented new features of Windows 8.1 specifically designed to provide PC and Network administrators with tools to streamline the task of migrating users to the new platform. Other tools designed to enhance business computing trends — mainly mobility — have been added to the platform.
This marketing collateral speaks at length to the needs of the administrative teams supporting end users. In contrast to the marketing collateral published when Windows 8 was released, the touch feature option is not emphasized. A lengthy section talks about Apps, the Windows Store, and workarounds for organizations looking for other ways to migrate applications to the new platform.
But what about the large installed base of computers with the Windows XP operating system in use at enterprises and comparably sized organizations in the public sector? From what we’ve seen of the documentation on how to upgrade these older systems, there is still too much ambiguity about whether or not existing hardware will or will not support newer operating systems, not to mention Windows 8.1. We aren’t sure Microsoft can do much more to lessen the difficulty of this experience for this portion of its customer base. As well, we aren’t sure the organizations supporting these computers will want to step through the custom installations likely to be required for Windows 7, and, perhaps, 8.
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